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CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

CAD Certificate for getting in the job market


I have studied mechanical engineering in an university of applied sciences in the Netherlands. However I had to leave the study after five years and doing about 2/3 of the whole four year course for various reasons and going back to it is not really an option. That being said I want to get into the mechanical engineering field and wondering if a CAD certificate perhaps AutoCAD, Solidworks or Siemens NX (used commonly here in europe) would help me to get a design engineering job as i would like to do FEM simulations, modelling and drafting. The place of work might be important too for what software they use and I might also like to work online with the US or English speaking countries. Udemy for example is a well known online academy which provides some relevant courses with just $20-50 per course.

Thank you in advance

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Have you studied the finite element method? Without studies in the subject, or a degree, I would not place too much hope in getting a job that involves engineering. Drafting is a different field, but nowadays, many first-world (well-paid) engineers have to perform drafting and 3D modelling themselves (unless it is outsourced to cheaper countries) for their company to remain competitive. Designated drafters are, to my knowledge, a bit of a thing of the past.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

My recommendations:
1. Follow FEA specialists in the social network - LinkedIn.
2. Read books, articles and blogs - there are very good (and free) articles and blogs about FEA.

And here are the 10 Guidelines for FEA Learning by Dominique Madier which, in my opinion, is one of the specialists in that area.
๐“๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ ๐†๐ฎ๐ข๐๐ž๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐…๐„๐€ ๐‹๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐ 

Good Luck.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

I can't find a way to say what I need to without sounding like an elitist jerk, so I'm not even going to try to soften it up.

I almost dropped out of college when I was over 80% done. One thing that kept me going was that I did not want to go through life as one of those "would-have, could-have" guys. One can have endless arguments about the value of any particular degree, but one thing that can not be refuted is that a completed degree is completed. Done is done!

CAD is not engineering. CAD is not design any more than a hammer is carpentry.

But, as the navy quartermasters (navigators) say, "Wherever you go, there you are."

So you want to start a career in CAD design with a piece of degree and a modicum of credibility. Happens all the time. Step one is "Don't ask for permission". Get out and do.

CAD skills? YES. Which one? The one you can get your hands on. Get savvy in any platform you can. (SolidWorks is usually easiest to acquire.) Identify and practice those meta skills that transfer across all platforms: sketching and constraints; top-down modelling; designing multi-piece assemblies. Geometry is geometry. Design is design. Don't let CAD tell you what design and geometry are. You tell CAD.

Work-wise, always start your career where you can learn the most. If you're going to be an underpaid noob, get some knowledge for your trouble. Learn workflow and processes. Pay attention to what your employer's and bosses' needs really are.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Part II--CAD certificate

Done is DONE!

Anything you have done is infinitely more valuable than what you could do.

Any benchmark to show your skills helps, especially when other significant benchmarks or degrees are lacking.
Some employers place value on certificates. If it helps to get the interview, then do it. If it helps guide your learning, then do it.

Personally, I do not place high value in CAD certificates. They don't really move my needle much when interviewing prospective candidates. They do little to tell me the true value of a prospective team member. But we're working in a different arena. Employers that do more bulk screening are going to value them more.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Part III--FEA: Don't waste your valuable breath

I have worked as a support engineer for FEA teams. The knowledge required to be an effective analyst requires a minimum masters degree level of knowledge. Most of them are PhDs.

This is not degree elitism. It really does require extensive knowledge and experience to do the job credibly. Running software is barely a footnote.

Quote (Dominique Madier)

1. Start with an educational background in the specific type of physics you wish to simulate.
4. Understand the behavior of your problems.
5. Always try to understand things in depth.
That means advanced degrees. There may be alternate paths, but there most certainly are no shortcuts.

CAD purveyors have grossly oversold the notion of "FEA for everyone". It is not uncommon for designers to run simple FEA to verify designs and guide decisions. But there is a limit. Big problems require big knowledge. Especially if it involves fluid dynamics, thermal, or nonlinear materials. Show-stopping problems are non-linear in nature, and the average engineer's linear thinking (and linear off-the-shelf FEA) are not going to solve.

There is a saying:


โ€œStatistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.โ€
Same is true for FEA.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

To second what Tick said - if the job is not finished, it's not finished. A hammer is not carpentry, nor is a partial degree program (especially in engineering or medicine) a COMPLETE degree program. Without the degree, you CANNOT become the "engineer" or "medical professional". Period. No matter what the employer uses for a position title.

You CAN become a "design technician" - otherwise known as a draftsman. Your responsibilities then would become not "design" per se, but you would help with visualizing the design idea (created and expressed by the engineer), documenting the required materials and processes, and probably troubleshooting the product when it goes through manufacturing (how are we expected to tighten THAT bolt?).

Pick a software system (and yes, I'd say start with Solidworks) ... and get accredited. Obtain the paper - it won't hurt and could possibly help land a job down the road. Then KEEP THE SKILLS UP AND EXPAND YOUR BASE KNOWLEDGE. That can be by doing more with your chosen software OR by expanding into other software areas.

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) can be useful - but not at the technician level which is where you'll be. Yes - it's fairly easy to run a piece of software like most FEA programs. But it takes a lot of high-level understanding and (usually) experience in equipment performance, application-specific operating criteria, and manufacturing limitations AND the physics and chemistry behind the materials and the performance criteria to set up the problem correctly, and then to understand the results the program spits out. Not something for the casual operator! As the tag line says I've been doing this for more than a half-century ... and I still don't know it all. Not even close.

Converting energy to motion for more than half a century

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Non-degreed CAD designers are almost extinct stateside but $20-30/hr non-degreed draftsmen are common and in-demand. As an American that's worked in Europe for both US and European companies I have found the continent to be comparatively overstaffed, over-niched, and over-credentialed so wouldn't doubt that working in design or other engineering roles would be significantly more difficult than stateside.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Quoting Tick:"The knowledge required to be an effective analyst requires a minimum masters degree level of knowledge. Most of them are PhDs."

I was always kind of leery about FEA until I took an ASME course on it. After that it scared the carp outta me :)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Getting my CSWP- certified solidworks professional, certs- mechanical design, weldments, sheet metal I think helped me get my current job, more as a level of confidence and competence with the topics, it was mostly stuff I could do well by the time I studied for and took the tests. I think things I did to make my last job easier, design tables, linking custom properties to drawings and so I helped more. What was an afterthought at the old job is somewhat routine at the new one.

I've worked with degreed engineers who seem to lack basic common and trade sense, I know non-degreed engineers who are quite smart, and have overcome barriers of class, bias and so on to find their way.

Engineers work in lots of ways, some very heavy on the math, some not at all, some 90% CAD, some not at all. I can relate from experience, that learning CAD, mostly solidworks, learning to use it quite well has been mostly pleasant to do, and paid lots of my bills, my first SWX job came from applying and demonstrating some self taught skills learned with a limited free copy and the solidworks essentials and solidworks drawings workbooks, so it can certainly be done.

Try hard and get good. Local job agencies can tell you about the market for work maybe get you some leads or training.

Is engineering a science or a trade/craft? Yes.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market


as a person who has done it by ranking up . my suggestions are.

get into a trade, machining, sheet metal work, and assembly. get actual practical manufacturing experience.
the road will be tough and and opportunities slim as a designer drafter. but there are opportunities as a process engineer.
the cad that is used by smaller to medium size companies is solid works, inventor and auto cad.
larger companies use Unigraphics and such

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

^ That's what my friend did, electrical assy, troubleshooting, mfg. tech, then taking work and certifying as a quality engineer.

Quality engineer where I used to work was a submariner before that.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

For $20-50 each, I would load up on several of them.

That said, good training is usually much more expensive and so as an employer, I want to know primarily 1) do you have any training in 3D 2) do you have any on-the-job experience in 3D and 3) do you have either of those things in our 3D CAD system?

I assume, unless the person is a perfect match regarding experience and CAD software, that they will need some training and time to ramp up. It does not reduce my interest in the candidate since there are so many other important criteria.

But there is the HR wall, where here in America they are constantly looking for filters that their automatic HR systems can exploit. One of the only ones in Engineering is your college degree. I think there is a universal struggle between HR generalists trying to filter applicants and technical managers who realize these tools aren't very effective. Having the 3D CAD "certifications" might help you get past one of those barriers.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

I worked (and lucked) my way up from a trade. I was a machinist first. That knowledge has always been invaluable.

It appears to be more difficult to do this in Europe.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

We gave prospective drafters and engineers a simple test of a 3D solid with some missing dimensions. One was needed to complete the question. They had to ask. It was amazing how many could not visualize in 3D or could not figure out there was a missing dimension. Did not ask what the missing dimension was, did not get hired. Some looked at it for 30 seconds and asked, some took them home and still failed.

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

Here's a good test for a draftsman, whether he's using CAD or otherwise. Note that all the lines represent hard edges and there are no hidden lines in either of the two views shown. The test is to draw the 'Side View' (Note that there are at least TWO correct answers):

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market

50% of our test was having the presence and character needed to ask the simple question the author of the test, without fear or condescension. We had no place for either at our office and this showed our interest in honesty and collaboration. Made selecting for follow up interviews so much easier!

RE: CAD Certificate for getting in the job market


An oldie but a goodie.

And the drafting puzzle is also.

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